toilet paper crystals
Once, I was 6. I know, it surprised me to write it as much as it surprised you to read it.
When I was at that tender age, I had a seriously nasty love affair with gemstones, rocks, and geology in general. If it was formed through pressure and mineral, I wanted to know about it. I took home National Geographic magazines from the library, Audobon Society field guides to rocks and gemstones, and I would actually go and gather rocks (gravel) and try to find out what was written about them given my limited thinking and resources.
My friend down the street kind of liked rocks too. He had hundreds of tiny crystals on his neato desk in his very own room. I had to share my room with two stinky brothers and I didn't have a desk. It goes without saying (even though I'm saying it now) that I was very envious of his only room, his desk, and of course, his collection of crystals. I asked him where he got them, because I had looked all over our neighborhood for beautiful rocks and I never saw anything. He told me he grew them. Growing crystals? Was that possible? I had no clue. So I asked how he grew them, eagerly anticipating my chance to try it out.
This is what he told me.
At night, before you go to bed, get a big wad of toilet paper, twist it up, dip it in water, and then let it dry out on the counter overnight. In the morning you'll have a beautiful crystal.
That night I went home and expended our roll of toilet paper. I twisted up over 30 clumps, setting them on the counter, the back of the toilet, and around the tub. Guess what happened to them when I got up?
I got into trouble for wasting toilet paper. Then I told why I did it, and my parents thought it was so funny they didn't punish me. I was, however, informed that I had to clean it up which was hard to bear-- not so much because of the mess I had made but because I had fully expected to collect 30 or so crystals that morning.
Upon questioning my friend as to why this experiment failed, he explained that it was the wrong brand of toilet paper. So I took some of his home and tried it. Bupkis. He got upset that I kept pestering him about how he did it and my parents put the kibosh on the toilet paper experiment and I soon got over it.
But man did I want those crystals.